Pre-school childcare: Decision making process of parents in New Zealand
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The purpose of this research is to examine the decision making process of parents in the consumption of childcare services. The process by which they search, select, evaluate and consume the service was explored. The determinants of quality and elements that lead to the development of trust with the childcare provider were also investigated. Four focus groups with seventeen mothers of pre-school children (who mainly attended kindergartens and day care centres) were conducted in Auckland, New Zealand. Parents experienced difficulties in judging the services due to its intangible nature and have had to rely on both tangible and intangible cues to evaluate providers. A common list of criteria was generated and results showed that parents relied more on their personal instincts and other intangible elements to select the provider of choice. Findings indicate that voluntary switching of service providers is not prevalent and trust is developed through reputation, encounters with caregivers and prior experience with the provider. A framework of the selection process is proposed.